Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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ackley.jpg (37100 bytes) My latest thoughts...
WBAN Sr. Editor


Hear anything about Lucia Rijker lately? Hereís another one: anything especially new with Christy Martin these days?

The answer, of course, on both counts, is no.

Two or three years ago, that was enough to shake womenís boxing to its tenuous roots. It was their mega match, long rumored but never realized, that was instantly going to generate a million pay-per-view buys, elevating womenís boxing to heretofore untold levels of money, media and Mia mania.

Womenís boxing, like its male alter ego, is littered with unfulfilled matchups that tantalize, tease and tempt, but ultimately wind up as nothing more than internet boxing board filler.

Fact is, there is no one major mega fight out there right now, even Rijker v. Martin. Sure, it would garner lots of attention, and casual fight fans would at least show some interest. But Rijker has been as inactive as Al Gore since his presidential loss. And since Coal Minerís Daughter has gotten a little hackneyed, may we suggest "Stealth" as Martinís new ring moniker.

After all, sheís barely on the womenís boxing radar screen.

A funny thing happened on the way to the sportís grand slam fight. It didnít happen, but thankfully a bunch of relatively anonymous ladies have at least lately been showing the boxing world the best of what the sport has to offer.

Name Gloria Ramierz ring a bell? How about Susan Howard? Anyone jumping on the Sherry Huchber bandwagon? Promoters beating down the door of Amy Burton for their next PPV extravaganza? Of course not. But these are the names that have been paraded in front of the American boxing public in the last couple of months. And frankly, they have been just splendid for the sport, thank you very much.

Both Fox Sports and ESPN have shown a number of undercard womenís fights in recent weeks. Blessedly absent have been famous daughters and neophyte nobodyís who barely know boxing wraps from sandwich wraps. No one in the public was out there clamoring for a look at these little known fighters.

No one was confusing these ladies with the sportís "elite". No one was even making the argument that any of these ladies were among the most skilled or polished in their weight class, much less their sport.

What they did was bring impressive heart, effort and excitement to the boxing shows that the menís fights often lack. What they did was show the boxing public at large the sport is growing, that entertaining, competitive womenís boxing comes in many sizes, shapes and names. It is, to be sure, a manifestation of many things: more women spending more time in the sport, the growth of womenís amateur boxing, and trainers, manager and promoters becoming more generally receptive to the very notion of women in the sport at all. Best of all, the cable networks have seemingly come to realize fans can and in fact do appreciate and applaud the kind of bouts these women have provided.

Sure, embrace the mega events, the mega bouts, when they occasionally come along. But donít let it overshadow the best route to a greater and more
widespread acceptance of womenís boxing as a whole. In other words, to use a sports analogy: slow and steady wins the race.

Collectively, the sport has wasted a lot of time worrying about when Martin and Rijker will get it on. Lately, these comparatively obscure boxers, who
undoubtedly have put in as much time and effort and made every bit as much of a sacrifice as any of the big money fighters, have hopefully taught us an
important lesson. Maybe, just maybe, itís the best way to build the sport. One bout, one boxer, at a time.


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